Police brutality is defined as “the wanton use of excessive force, usually physical, but also common in forms of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer.” Though it violates the laws within the police department, unfortunately, police brutality does occur, and many times these cases go unreported.
When an individual believes that officers should be there to help, and should be reasonable, and they encounter police brutality, it’s upsetting on many levels. People who are victimized often do not know what to do, and are still in trauma, both physically and emotionally.
Police brutality may occur when an officer arrives on the scene and is there to arrest a citizen, without explaining the reason why. Often, any attempt to question the officer, can end up as a resisting arrest charge. This can occur in public places or in protest or crime scenes, or in one’s home or car. Sometimes, officers may try to overstep their authority and demand searches of persons or property without warrants, and arrest an individual if he or she objects. Sometimes, individuals are physically abused during the arrest or/and booking process, or by officers who work in the jail.
Police brutality, of course, is also a violation of citizen rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S Constitution. When an government official, or other person acting under the law, violates an individuals’ civil rights, they are liable for what’s called “civil liability” under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In specific situations, this U.S. statute allows a person to sue that individual (in this case a police officer), and perhaps his/her employer (in this case a police department) for money damages. An individual may also be able to recover attorney’s fees, under 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution contains a Due Process Clause that protects the rights of people who have been charged with a crime, but who have not yet been convicted of a crime. It also contains an Equal Protection Clause. This clause requires all states to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction, regardless of their class, gender, or race.
Many countries, including the United States, have laws which address police brutality. Under these laws, police brutality is seen as a serious offense, and is supposed to be investigated by a commission of district attorneys. Even given these laws, however, the majority of complaints made by civilians about police brutality aren’t investigated, often because it’s sometimes hard to prove it.
We’re experienced in dealing with police departments and the courts, and can represent you in getting the compensation and the satisfaction you deserve under the law.
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